Fuse

Joe Henry - Fuse album cover

(1999) Mammoth


Songs

  1. Monkey (4:01)
  2. Angels (5:42)
  3. Fuse (4:18)
  4. Skin and Teeth (3:52)
  5. Eat (3:25)
  6. Want Too Much (5:44)
  7. Curt Flood (3:49)
  8. Like She Was a Hammer (4:27)
  9. Great Lake (5:31)
  10. Beautiful Hat (3:57)
  11. We’ll Meet Again (4:25)

© 1999 Joe Henry All rights reserved, do not reprint without permission


Liner Notes
I’ve been boxing for the last couple of months, training for what I believe will be The Big Fight (aren’t we all?). My trainer, Robert (an ex-contender who looks like Bob Hoskins standing on the shoulders of William Burroughs), tells me I’m a natural; if only I wasn’t so scrappy. And 37 years old, and off-balance, and didn’t dance around so much, leaving my right side exposed, inviting the heavy hands of any and all comers. “If only…,” he says, I might have a shot. My shot (“remember Charlie, that night at the garden…?”). But what does Robert know? I’m still young, and besides – I know more than a few scrappy people who’ve made their bones dancing in the ring. But all said, working the heavy bag has been like a vacation. I guess I bragged one too may times about how well and easily I slept, for now the world looks different from under the gauzy hood of random insomnia. (“Right,” my wife laughs. “Random” like Lee Oswald happening upon a private and unobstructed view of the street on Parade Day). But then, who’s got the time to sleep when there’s so much work to do?

This project all started in a converted upholstery shop where I would steal a half hour at a time whenever the baby was napping, recording directly through the business end of a Playskool baby monitor. The songs themselves just appeared like dandelions – popping up in clusters, seemingly overnight. I rarely had to leave the yard, the dark angels hovering at my shoulder, whispering profanity and lewd suggestions in my ear. Soon enough the voices start to sound like your own and then it’s time to seek professional help, which I received from some likely and unlikely sources. Yes, they’re all here in one form or another, working off all manner of personal debt to Yours Truly: Randy Jacobs, Carla Azar, T-bone Burnett, Chris Whitley, Daniel Lanois, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Anthony Wilson, Jakob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie…(Robert Wagner was unavailable, touring with Seal, I heard). And so what we have in the end is a puzzle of desperate characters (not me, surely, though I do hold copyright); figures like scarecrows struggling against their own weaknesses, lying their heads off, flapping like sails against thick grooves and wobbling like a bent bicycle wheel. Characters who sing like William Burroughs while thinking they sound like Bobby Womack (is there any-thing sadder?). All this narrated by the voice of George Seedorff, soundbites of who were recovered in fragments from an old reel-to-reel tape, documenting a night some twenty years ago, in which Mr. Seedorff hijacked an open mic poetry reading near Detroit like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” raining (and reigning) upon the unsuspecting audience a Bunuel dream of epic proportion. No, there is nothing sadder. But don’t feel sorry on my account. I’ve got a personal trainer, and plenty of shoulders to stand on. And who knows? If I keep moving, my weak right side won’t be much of a problem. You’ll never lay a glove on me.
Joe Henry


Credits

  • Release Date: Mar 9, 1999
Name Credit
Ethan Allen Engineer
Revert Andrews Trombone
Carla Azar Drums
Richard Barron Engineer, Machines
Curt Bisquera Drums
Jennifer Condos Bass
Gregory Davis Trumpet
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Band, Performer
Alex Dizon Hair Stylist
Jakob Dylan Vocals
Joe Gastwirt Mastering
Kevin Harris Saxophone
Joe Henry Organ, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Engineer, Machines
Randy Jacobs Bass, Guitar, Talk Box
Daniel Lanois Bass, Claves
Roger Lewis Saxophone
Jean McClain Vocals
Jamie Muhoberac Organ, Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric), Machines, Mini Moog
Melanie Nissen Artwork, Photography
Dave Palmer Piano, Keyboards
Mike Piersante Engineer
Nick Raskulinecz Assistant Engineer
Greg Richling Bass
Brian Swartz Trumpet
Mike Terry Assistant Engineer
Efrem Towns Trumpet
Freddie “Ready Freddie” Washington Bass
Chris Whitley Guitar
Anthony Wilson Guitar